New York Before Chinatown Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882

ISBN-10: 0801867940

ISBN-13: 9780801867941

Edition: 2001

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Description: From George Washington's desire (in the heat of the Revolutionary War) for a proper set of Chinese porcelains for afternoon tea, to the lives of Chinese-Irish couples in the 1830s, to the commercial success of Chang and Eng (the "Siamese Twins"), to rising fears of "heathen Chinee," New York before Chinatown offers a provocative look at the role Chinese people, things, and ideas played in the fashioning of American culture and politics. Piecing together various historical fragments and anecdotes from the years before Chinatown emerged in the late 1870s, historian John Kuo Wei Tchen redraws Manhattan's historical landscape and broadens our understanding of the role of port cultures in the making of American identities. Tchen tells his story in three parts. In the first, he explores America's fascination with Asia as a source of luxury items, cultural taste, and lucrative trade. In the second, he explains how Chinese, European-Americans in Yellowface, and various caricatures became objects of curiosity in the expansive commercial marketplace. In the third part, Tchen focuses on how Americans' attitude toward the Chinese changed from fascination to demonization, leading to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Acts beginning in 1882.

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 8/22/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.540
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction
A Culture of Distinction
Porcelain, Tea, and Revolution
What Does China Want?
The Port's Rise
Port Exchanges
A Pioneer Settlement
"Edifying Curiosities"
Self-Possessed Men
Stereotypes and Realities
The "Chinese Question"
"The Alarm"
Visualizing "Ah Sin"
Building Community
Descent to Darkness
Appo's Demise
Epilogue: The "American Century"
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index
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